For the Love of Small Houses and Messy Beds


I know, I know … for anyone that follows any of my social media you will know that I recently read Marie Kondo’s ..the life-changing magic of tidying up, so the fact that I am announcing my love for messy beds seems completely out of line with that. But stay with me here.

We did, as a family, completely.. and I mean COMPLETELY get rid of all clutter in sight. Like 2 truck loads to the dump and 15-20 bags of clothes, shoes, purses to donation. Yeah… it was a lot. But that is not what I’m talking about here. Ok, part of what happened as a result of that massive clean out is relative in that there is a lightness here now. A clarity in our space. A happiness to be and to come home.

But my real reason for writing this is that after all of that tidying up ….. when I get up out of bed in the morning, I’m perfectly content to not make it. In fact walking back into my very clean and tidy room in the early morning with my hot cup of coffee… the sight of that unmade bed makes me happy. It looks comfy, it looks welcoming, it looks like love to me. Especially when my 6-year-old has crawled into bed with us sometime during the night and I see his curly head and hear his little snoring. It’s love I tell ya! I do not under any circumstances wish to wake him just to make that bed. Even when school is back in, I spend my mornings with my husband.. again drinking coffee while we get the boys out the door, in shifts. I spend that time talking, waking up kids, and listening to my youngest yap from the second he gets up until I put him on the bus. As soon as that kid is on the bus I’m either high-tailing it to a class I teach or a class I take …or running, strength training…something. But this is my “me” time and I cherish that.

And guess what? When I finally get back home … that messy bed makes me happy all over again. I love the pillows and sheets I’ve bought … I love the size of a King size mattress and the fact that it’s waiting for me at the end of my day. Sometimes it feels like the light at the end of a tunnel. I will admit that on days that I somehow find the time to make my bed, I really like that too. I love the colors in the decorative pillows and throws and the smooth lines of a made bed. But not as much as I love that big ‘ole messy bed. I know… I’m weird.

And small houses… what’s the deal there? Well, they make me happy too. I was never as happy with my space as when I had a 2 bedroom apartment with a fireplace. When I was younger I dreamed of the small, beautifully appointed apartments and homes I would see in magazines about Paris. I love the condos in New York City with their comfy, small spaces. In both scenarios, I would dream of just walking out of those homes and walking everywhere I needed to go. To cafes, to restaurants, anywhere… just simple and beautiful.

Somehow I got lost in the American Dream of it all. I got the degree, got the job, bought the first house and dreamed of a bigger one. A bigger life. A bigger personality. Somewhere in there, I lost my true self. I lost what I really had loved from the beginning. And then nothing was ever going to be enough. And I was miserable. I never could figure out why. At the height of some of the most depressing years of my life, I also had some of the happiest moments. I had two young sons – who were a trip..they made me laugh and I was so proud. I owned my own company and made great money… the most money I had ever had in my life.  But I was also sad… I felt awful. I lost the vision for that beautiful little Parisian apartment and the simple life I saw in it.

I think perhaps this is what finally, after many years of soul searching, lead me to read that darn Japanese book about uncluttering and unburdening. I was finally ready. I was finally brave enough to let go of those things that no longer serve me, us. And it was liberating.

The crazy part, for me, is that I woke up and realized that I’m in the cozy little house that I wanted. We are making it beautiful. The difference now is that I am not alone, we are making this cozy little house a home together. Those little boys in that apartment now have 3 more brothers and have all but forgotten that space I held onto in my mind. I have given myself permission to rebuild the simple life I wanted in my youth…. And I know that this whole crew of mine is ready too.

If you saw our house you would think that there was no way 7 people could live in a smallish rancher – I call it “the cottage” – comfortably, but you would be wrong. We are happy here, there is more than enough space… and as I read in a quote a long time ago…love grows in small houses.

Although I am lightyears away from living in Paris or NYC and walking wherever I go….. I mean seriously….I’m a mom in a small town who drives a Suburban and makes dinner for an army every night, for crying out loud…… But I have found the peace, the love, and the happiness that I thought I would find in all of those beautiful pictures in magazines. And it looks like a small house with a big messy bed, on a quiet street in Suburban America…. And that is just fine with me.